JAKARTA (18 Nov 2011) – If Malaysian fans think the Under-23 team is virtually through to the SEA Games final, they may want to take a look at the results Myanmar, their opponent in tomorrow’s semifinals, in the group stage.
Many imagine that beating Indonesia and avoiding Vietnam would provide Malaysia an easy path to the final. Seriously, that’s far from the truth for Myanmar completed the group fixtures unbeaten. They won their group matches against Brunei, Philippines, Laos and Timor Leste, and held Vietnam to a goalless draw.
Myanmar in fact finished second in the group to Vietnam because of an inferior on goal difference. Myanmar netted a total of 13 goals and conceded two while Vietnam helped themselves to 16 goals and conceded two.
Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee’s warning to his charges about the threat Myanmar posed must be heeded. Kim Swee said it would be a folly to underestimate Myanmar. “Any side that have reached the semifinals should be considered strong,” he said.
“The boys played well tonight and I hope they will show the same commitment in the next game against Myanmar.”
Kim Swee will have to bring his boys down from the high they are at now as they prepare for the semifinals. Fortunately for Kim Swe, he will have almost all his players for the semifinals as none of those with bookings picked up a second yellow last night.
Malaysia had six players with bookings going into last night’s match, fortunately for the Young Tigers, none of them collected a second yellow which would have ruled them out of the semifinals. Malaysia’s only concern is right flanker Wan Zahrul Wan Zakaria who limped off the pitch in the 13th minute and was replaced by eventual winning goal-scorer 18-year-old Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim. Syahrul netted the solitary goal of the game just four minutes after coming on.
The first semifinal clash between Malaysia and Myanmar tomorrow will kick-off at the Gelora Bung Karno at 4pm (Jakarta time) while the second semifinal showdown will start at 7.30pm (Jakarta time).
SEA GAMES 2011 SEMI-FINALS FIXTURES
|19.11.2011||MALAYSIA||vs||MYANMAR||1600 hrs||GELORA BUNG KARNO|
|21.11.2011||Loser 1st Semis||vs||Loser 2nd Semis||1600 hrs||GELORA BUNG KARNO|
|Winner 1st Semis||vs||Winner 2nd Semis||1930 hrs|